Welcome to Flash Points. Every Monday we stick one of the previous Friday’s entries under a sparklyscope (if you call now, we’ll throw in free shipping!) and talk about it right in front of its face, dragon style. What makes writing “good”? Specifically, what makes great flash? What about this particular piece really works? Let the discussion begin!
Prompt: foggy sunrise
Word limit: 145-155
Today’s chosen flash piece: The Calling of a Dream, by DragonsflyPoppy
She leant over and kissed the top of their heads. They were asleep, softly snoring in unison: her beloved husband and beautiful baby boy, not yet a year old.
She’d had a fitful night’s sleep, and that dream…that dream kept playing over and over. She couldn’t ignore it; she had to do this.
It was achingly cold outside. She had to reach the summit in time for sunrise, that much she knew. The rest? Well, that was where the dream had stopped.
She arrived just as the sky started to melt with the orange glow of the sun.
Suddenly she became aware of an unannounced hand in hers, with a warmth that radiated through her, touching her soul. She looked at the young boy, so handsome, standing next to her, recognising immediately, behind those deep loving eyes, her son.
She gasped as she was shown, in that moment, all that he was to become.
Flash Points welcomes DragonsflyPoppy into the lab for the first time (hi! so glad you came and played at Flash! Friday last week!). The Calling of a Dream takes center stage today because it has such a kick-your-dupa concept, the story’s still stuck in my craw days later.
It starts gently, sweetly, with a mother kissing her sleeping family. Then we’re given a disturbing dream–she can’t sleep, has got to (though she doesn’t know why) climb the summit in time for sunrise. DragonsflyPoppy leads the reader along with tantalizing crumbs of story, its pacing slow but calculated. We’re given just enough to whet our appetites and keep us reading.
In the end we really don’t know what’s happened or is about to happen. The scene is complete, framed perfectly by the mother’s initiative at the beginning and the toddler’s at the end. But what I love most is how the story hints at a larger idea. Magic does not act overtly here, but we have a wise-for-his-years, early walking baby; a troubling dream that forces the character into unwilling action; and a sudden glimpse of potential. Magic seeps through every last pore.
I. Love. This. Story. Dragonsflypoppy completely ensnared my imagination. What did the mother see in her baby’s eyes? Why was the sunrise so significant? What is this world, and what roles will these two characters be required to play in it? There is more, so much more, to this story than what we are given, but that more is only hinted at. The amount of story given us fits the allotted space comfortably (neither too much story nor too little); but like the mother, we gasp in wonder as we catch a too-brief sighting of what the story could become.
What do you suppose the mother saw? Where do you think the story might go next? If you were worldbuilding for this scene, what might the world look like? What is the significance of this little boy?